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The Journal Gazette

  • Benedict

Friday, November 09, 2018 1:00 am

Panelists will weigh options for school safety

Jacob D. Benedict

Jacob D. Benedict is a partner at AMI Investment Management, Inc. and president of the Notre Dame Club of Fort Wayne.

Over the past month, The Journal Gazette has done an excellent job highlighting school safety issues with its project titled “Secure at School.”

The idea that our children may not be safe at school is terrifying. While there are no easy answers, parents, administrators, faculty and community members must work toward constant improvements. Yet the debates can be difficult and contentious.

Should teachers or other staff members be armed? How can schools offer expanded mental health services? Should broader firearms regulations be introduced? How can we as a community monitor and deter bullying?

In an effort to contribute to this important discussion, the Notre Dame Club of Fort Wayne will host a panel on school safety at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 19 in Meeting Room C at the main Allen County Public Library downtown. The event is free and open to the public.

The panel will explore and debate best practices for keeping our schoolchildren safe. Panelists include Jim Frabutt, senior adviser to the provost at the University of Notre Dame; former Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke; and Director of Security for Fort Wayne Community Schools Dottie Davis.

Frabutt has studied school safety and worked with schools to implement programs. Helmke is the former president and CEO of the Brady Center/Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Davis is a retired law enforcement officer with the Fort Wayne Police Department who served as the director of training for the Fort Wayne Police Training Center. Each panelist will offer introductory thoughts, then the audience will have an opportunity to ask questions.

The panel is part of the Notre Dame Club of Fort Wayne's annual Hesburgh Lecture, honoring past Notre Dame President the Rev. Ted Hesburgh. Past topics have included religion in politics, business ethics, immigration reform and health care reform. We believe that when a community confronts an important but potentially contentious topic, the best solution is to gather a handful of experts and engage the community in an honest and open dialogue. We can't think of any topic more important than protecting our community's most important asset, our children.

We would like to thank The Journal Gazette for shining a spotlight on such an important and difficult issue, and we encourage readers to attend our panel and engage with the expert panelists.